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2019 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Global Brigades Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Education, Food, Health, Home Economics, Public Health

Mission: To empower volunteers and under-resourced communities to resolve global health and economic disparities and inspire all involved to collaboratively work towards an equal world.

Results: - More then 40,000 volunteers from North America and Europe participating in global health and development projects in Honduras, Panama, Nicaragua and Ghana - 220,000 annual patients treated with primary medical care - 11,934 pap-smears preventing cervical cancer and supporting womens' health - 22,595 tooth extraction and fillings by licensed dentists -1,562 public health infrastructure projects installed (such as latrines, eco-stoves, and water storage units) -10,254 meters of piped clean water distributed to hundreds of homes - $75,000 in microloans funded and repaid to community-owned cooperatives with 97% repayment rate - More then 200 local jobs created to support health and sustainable development - 3 communities transitioned from having volunteers participate in projects to 100% community-driven with the support of follow-up from on-the ground staff

Target demographics: empower community partners to resolve health and economic disparities

Direct beneficiaries per year: more then 200,000 community members.

Geographic areas served: 180 rural and under resourced communities in Honduras, Panama, Nicaragua and Ghana

Programs: microfinance, public health infrastructure, clean water, and medical/dental services.

Community Stories

28 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Global Brigades has opened my eyes to a life I never would've seen without being in this organization. I have been to two different countries and had amazing experiences. I have met many incredible people that I am so grateful to get to know while on brigade and on campus.

My first brigade was during the civil unrest in Nicaragua. The brigade was cut short in order to keep us safe, and my experience was life changing. The people we worked with lived a life much different than what we do in America, yet they appeared to be so much more happy than many of us in the states. The community members were so welcoming as if we were all family to them. They welcomed us into their homes and into their arms. Seeing how they lived and treated really caused me to do immense self-reflection.

My second brigade was in Panama, and it was so much fun. We partnered with two other universities, so we had the opportunity to meet about 30+ people. On top of volunteering and helping some amazing people, we were able to try out local restaurants and hike up a mountain. Because our flight home was late enough, we were even able to enjoy an afternoon in Panama City.

Global Brigades provides fantastic opportunities that turn into life changing experiences.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Global Brigades is an amazing organization that I've had the privilege of being involved in for the last couple of years. When I went to Honduras on a Medical Brigade last year it was such an amazing experience for me to see the wonderful holistic work that GB does in front of my own eyes and get involved with it! I've always been interested in international service, and I'm really encouraged by the work GB does to involve local communities where they work and really provide ethical service measures

Jessica D.6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been able to attend 2 different brigades and each experience has been wonderful! I love that the goal of the organization is for long term sustainability for the communities that we help. While some groups provide temporary relief, Global Brigades helps to provide long term change that helps these communities is so many different ways. I worked in a medical clinic in Honduras and got to meet some of the most amazing people. In one community, we met a gentleman named Jorge. He was so gracious of our help and made sure all of the volunteers felt welcome and comfortable in his community. As we left, he gave each of us a hug - telling us we are always welcome in his community. The experiences I had on brigade were some of the most rewarding and important experiences I have had in my young adult years.

Paige Br.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Global Brigades has been the most impactful part of my college career. Through this incredible organization I have been able to give back to communities around the world and be part of something larger than myself. Global Brigades has opened my eyes to the value of financial literacy and ensuring all the aid we provide is sustainable. I have become a better person because of my involvement with Global Brigades and I am forever grateful for this organization.

Allen L.2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I first heard about Global Brigades in the Spring of 2019. A few of my friends went on the trip over spring break, and it is all they talked about when they came back. They shared their experiences of treating patients, learning about the community and the culture, and meeting a wide range of students from the University of Arkansas who shared the same interests. At this point, my interest was piqued, and I knew I had to apply for the next trip. Little did I know that this trip would be the most memorable one of my life.
Fast forward to 3:00am on January 6th. There I am, standing outside of the bus with a suitcase full of toothpaste and 24 hours of travel ahead of me. I was excited, but I was still not sure what I was getting myself into. After two busses, two planes, and a few hours in a hotel there it was, the Four Seasons of Global Brigade lodging, Fundación Pro Niños De Darién. It had everything you could ask for on a trip like this; a dining area, three hot meals a day, running water (most of the time), a soccer field, bunk beds, and ambient noises to put you to sleep at night and wake you up in the morning. It is where we played games on the soccer field trying to learn each other’s names; it is where we spent hours in the dining area packing hygiene bags, learning dances, playing cards, and watching basketball games; and it is where we as brigadiers bonded and became close to one another, building new relationships and making new friends. However, we were not just on this trip to make new friends.
It was day two of the brigade, and we loaded up on the bus to start our hour commute down the Pan-American Highway. When the road ended, we stopped, and at the end of the road was large rural community called Yaviza. We got out and set up our clinic in a local school. This is where we would spend the next three days. Our days consisted of assisting the Panamanian pharmacists, physicians, and dentists as the patients travelled down the corridor. All three days the clinic ran smoothly and we were able to see a total of 392 patients, each of which had a different story. Some patients had travelled for days to be seen and brought their entire family. Others had new born children or their grandparents with them. They all had their own problems, but every patient greeted you with a genuine smile.
After each day, the brigade coordinators would sit down with us and reflect. They would explain why we were doing what we were doing, and what the ultimate goal of the brigade was. I had listened to the meetings back in Arkansas, and even read through the website, but getting to see what the brigade was working toward first hand really opened my eyes. They explained in detail the holistic model of Global Brigades and how their plan was not to temporarily help a community of people, but to build a sustainable community that could operate when volunteers and brigadiers were no longer there. This was unlike any other mission work I had ever heard of, and it made so much sense. It showed me the importance of empowering communities rather than helping them temporarily, and this was something I wanted to get behind.
I now represent Global Brigades as a Campus Chairperson. I am new to this role, but excited to see what else Global Brigades can teach and to help grow the Global Brigades community on my campus.


Volunteer

Rating: 5

I joined Global Medical Brigades in the hopes of gaining medical experience while helping people in a rural community in Central America. As I got to know more about the organization, I am absolutely in love with what Global Brigades stands for and its mission. I went on a brigade and it was life-changing for me, so much that I am going for the second time. I am also on the executive board for our chapter at our university. I want to keep continuing my involvement until graduation, but also find a way to remain involved when I become a medical professional as well.

Alyssa M.4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I joined a chapter of Global Brigades at my university my freshman year, and remained involved with various brigades chapters and positions in the organization. So far I have had the opportunity to go on two brigades with the organization, both of which have been absolutely incredible. On my time on a leadership institute in Honduras, I was able to see Global Brigades' commitment to planned obsolescence, working with and not for the community, avoiding voluntourism, and maintaining good relationships with the community to ensure that projects are maintained. I was also able to see the real impact in communities that GB visits by observing communities at various stages in the holistic model. Volunteering with Global Brigades has been an incredible experience, and I highly recommend that others get involved with a chapter near them.

Austin S.2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I first joined GB as a sophomore, and now that I enter my senior year as president and campus chairperson of my chapter I realize how insurmountably important it has become in my life. Not only has this organization given me the opportunity to experience medicine in the developing world, it has opened my eyes to the delicate intertwinement of culture and health through meaningful face-to-face interactions with individuals I met while on the brigade in Panama. Not only this, but GB's sustainable and holistic model offers long lasting change by thoughtfully empowering communities, a refreshing contrast to the "fix-it" model followed by most charities. I highly recommend GB to anyone that is looking to be a part of a lasting impact on developing communities abroad!

1 Archita T.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered with GB to gain insight into the kind of progress being made in the developing world, and was delighted to see the spirit and commitment of all the staff members, which visibly penetrated the volunteers. The unique holistic model shows you how well-thought out the programmes are, and it's great to feel part of the movement. I was humbled by what I saw in Panama; it will stay with me for a long time and I hope to see exciting changes within the society on my university campus so that more volunteers can share the same experience.

1 Emily M.5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a post-secondary education student studying human rights and international relations, I wanted to get involved with an organization that made a real impact in the world and see how an international non-government organization worked. My education has made me critical of NGOs and the potential harm rather than good they can do. I was pleasantly surprised to learn how GB worked through the holistic model to achieve sustainable development and empower communities. I was even more impressed when I learned how GB approached critiques of their organization- they welcome critiques and for their volunteers to think critically of their role and of the organization as a whole. GB takes into consideration any and all critiques to inform their work moving forward. The more I learned about GB, the more I have come to love it. My brigade experience with GB is something words cannot accurately express. I seen first-hand how GB works in partnership with communities to achieve the community's goals. I witnessed first-hand the stories of community members who shared with us how much GB has helped their communities and families. One of my favourite parts about GB is how they incorporate the SDGs into their work as well. Women are encouraged to become part of Committees overseeing the projects, such as the Water Committee. Women are empowered to become leaders in their communities, and the involvement of women in these projects is critical to ensure sustainability. Women in these communities are often the most impacted by the lack of access to water. This is just one example of how GB is making such positive changes in the communities they partner with. This is the type of organization I always wanted to become involved with. #MyGBStory

Jack F.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

GB has been one of the best opportunities I have been exposed to in college. It is one of the first global medical volunteer programs that I have seen be selflessly attentive and supportive to people with fewer resources to health care. My one week in-brigade was one of the most memorable and rewarding time that made me become involved in the campus board the following year. Amazing nonprofit.

Louise A.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My experience with Global Brigades has been extremely transformative. Each year when I go back I am reminded of the love and passion that I am surrounded by not only within the student group but within the staff team as well. GB is special because each and every person I encounter has a deep rooted passion for service and a dedication to helping others. Seeing such selfless attitudes has made me aware of how people feed off of the love of the communities and others around them. This is the very reason why medical clinics are so efficiently run and hygiene projects are so effectively built. People look past small differences to understand the bigger picture and consequently, how they can relate so closely to the people around them from different cultures and backgrounds.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

After my first brigade, I saw what I was learning in engineering come into practice and realized that GB really has put in a lot of effort to balance student and community empowerment. Seeing the energy that communities and staff bring to brigades led me to maintain my involvement with GB and so I keep coming back for brigades!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Global Brigades is an incredibly well run organization. With Sustainability, Empowerment and a Holistic Approach at the forefront the focus is always on the community partners. It is consistently an inspiring organization to be a part of. My experience as a volunteer was always so positive, the staff were incredibly knowledgeable and kind and interaction with community members so inspiring. My favourite part about Global Brigades is the commitment to empower students and communities, engage with and educate Global Citizens and promote a society of ethical volunteers.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am going on my second year being involved with GB and I have loved every second of it! Last year I was able to go on a Medical Brigade with my university to Panama and it was incredible being a part of the sustainable work this organization does. Being in-country allowed me to see the progress GB has made and how strong of a relationship they have with their partner communities. The entire staff, from program coordinators to translators, were always approachable and friendly during the trip making it that much better. One of my favorite parts was being able to learn about the culture of the communities we visited.

Since my first brigade, I have become the Campus Chairperson (a role created by GB) at my school in order to spread the word of the work they are doing. Being in this position has allowed me to see how much work goes on behind the scenes every single day to ensure their partner communities can become empowered one day. I look forward to participating in many more brigades in the coming years!

#GB365

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved with Global Brigades for the past 4 and a half years as a medical brigader, program director, president, and campus chairperson and it is one of the best decisions I have ever made. I have traveled to Panama, Honduras, and Nicaragua with Global Brigades.
Global Brigades changed the trajectory of both my education and life and enlightened within myself new passions of which I was previously unaware. I am now a medical student with the goal of becoming a bilingual provider and eliminating barriers to care. I plan to continue working with Global Brigades throughout the course of my life and cannot imagine not doing so.
The staff are some of the most genuine, kind, and knowledgeable people of which I have ever had the privilege to interact. The people in the communities with which GB partners are incredibly driven, hard-working, and optimistic.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was an international student from Monterrey, Mexico at DePaul University who joined a Medical Brigade to Nicaragua and a Public Health Brigade to Honduras.

My GB experience got me more involved with Sustainable development in my own country. I have learned that without an effective tax system, Mexico will not even remotely meet the 2030 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

This means that Mexico needs to experience a very profound cultural change to help the 9.5 million people that still live in extreme poverty. On average, Mexican corporations avoid 15 billion dollars in taxes a year by sending the money to tax havens abroad. The government, if not corrupted could use this for sustainable development.

Stopping the tax condonations would put a break to the nations economic growth, and a risky alternative to fill this holes in the economy is foreign investment. Making strategic alliances with Mexican private sector entities and their foundations could boost the progress into both, the empowered 100 goal of GB and the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN, but most importantly we will start seeing the systematic change that Latin America needs.

I am in close contact with Public Health Directors in the state of Nuevo Leon which are willing to cooperate with Global Brigades to send brigades to communities in need. It is just a matter of being on the same page with Global Brigades executives.

Global Brigades volunteers could benefit from brigading in Mexico by learning about one of the most complex and unequal societies in the world from native Mexicans. This could stimulate the creation of future leaders and social entrepreneurs.

Additionally, immigrants from Nicaragua and Honduras are being sent back from the American boarder into Mexico everyday, and now is when our society could benefit the most from legal clinic to empower these immigrants and help their families and their future. Mexico became a third safe country for immigrants, which means many immigrants will be searching for a better life here in Mexico in the following decades.

To conclude, I will always be grateful for my GB experience and I will keep striving to bring the organization to communities in Mexico.

4 Ranya M.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Global Brigades is an international non-profit organization that aims to empower volunteers and under-resourced communities to resolve global health and economic disparities using the holistic approach. I was fortunate enough to embark on a medical mission to Honduras where I worked alongside local communities and health professionals to implement sustainable health systems. We impacted over 600 members by offering health screenings, medications and educational workshops. Not only did we offer medical attention, but also public health by digging trenches to lay down pipes for the community to have a clean water source as well as building a sanitation station for families to be able to use the bathroom, bathe, etc. The Hondurans hosted us, arms wide open, and have unconditionally taught us so much in return: be grateful, be patient, be kind... do not place your happiness in objects which have monetary value. Appreciate every little thing. I was going into this expecting to teach them something when in reality they taught me much more. Keep in mind to always smile. Smiling can break any language barrier. Smiling is welcoming and universal. I wish I could put this humbling experience into words but I'm left speechless with tear-filled eyes. Thank you to the GB team, physicians, community, volunteers and everyone who donated/supported my journey. I have fostered a passion for serving and empowering under-resourced communities. You all motivate me to continue making my dreams a reality. To anyone considering going on a brigade, do not hesitate. Going will open your mind and most importantly grow your heart ♥️ No un adiós, pero hasta luego.

4

Former staff

Rating: 5

Global Brigades is unlike any other organization out there, offering opportunities for young volunteers to get involved to "change the world," while simultaneously supporting thoughtful, grassroots, holistic development in Latin America. What a unique organization to be able to meld these 2 different areas of international development into one seamless blueprint for sustainable development. I would recommend Global Brigades to anyone looking to get involved in international development work.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

What better way to learn and give back to communities in need in Honduras, Panama, Ghana, and Nicaragua than to have the opportunity to take the knowledge you have learned in school and apply it to the real world?
I have been on a total of five brigades and, as cliche as this may sound, my world has turned upside down. Having been on five out of the ten initiatives offered within Global Brigades, I was able to see the effect of how the brigades offered lead to sustainable communities and sustainable student leadership all across the United States. As a student who is deeply interested in making a tangible impact and being able to see the end result of a project that is being worked on is what makes this organization a road map to living a life of powerful, meaningful, and inspirational work. The joyful and loving communities that welcome us are a pleasure to work in. The faculty and staff in these countries as well as on the board of directors here in the United States are always looking for ways to make our experiences as empowering and fulfilling as possible. I am looking forward to continuing my leadership as a volunteer within Global Brigades.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a campus chairperson, so I lead my university's chapter of Global Brigades. In other words, I have devoted most, if not all, of my college career to this organization and its success on my campus. I could not have chosen a better organization to work with. I have been on one brigade, an environmental brigade in Panama, and it was a life-changing experience. Working with rural communities, gaining teaching experience, learning about life in lesser developed countries, gaining experience in sustainable development, practicing my Spanish skills, and working to make the world a better place are just a few of the wonderful benefits of GB, and those are just for the volunteers! The point of GB is to empower communities to lead their own development. In this way, the objective is not to come into communities and do everything for them. It is honestly a group effort. Some of my favorite experiences with GB in Panama were working with the Embera people to plant rosewood trees. These trees not only assist in reforestation, but they also help keep their traditions alive. Seeing the people so incredibly happy that you are there and being so incredibly happy to be there, seeing the hard work from both sides, and learning about each other: these are the essentials of Global Brigades. It's all about learning from and helping each other. I am so excited to say that I am going on another brigade this May. I cannot wait!

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Amazing organization with dedicated staff, inspiring volunteers, and welcoming communities. A development organization with a true partnership mentality and openness to change in order to improve and grow.

4 Aashni R.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a part of GB for 3 years and my experience on Brigades and working with GB staff and advising has been outstanding. The brigades opened my eyes to new communities and experiences. Global Brigades' holistic and sustainable model is extremely effective and this is an organization I am proud to be a part of.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I have been involved with Global Brigades for the past four years as a student at Saint Louis University. Global Brigades was the one club that I found on the SLU website before starting my first semester that I was very interested in. I became active in the organization during my first semester, and it did not disappoint. I went from not knowing whether I would be accepted to the first brigade that I applied for to now being a very active participant of the SLU GB executive board. My experiences with Global Brigades have definitely been some of the most impactful of my college career. These experiences have taught me that even when I believed that I had no skills or any use to offer that I could still be impactful. They taught me to always be open and learning. The time on my brigade in Ghana led me to create my own program with my University so that I could study abroad in Ghana. I have learned that I have friends and neighbors everywhere including Ghana, Honduras, Panama, and Nicaragua, that even if I have no other use that I have my energy to use, and I took away many skills from the program that I did not have before. I highly recommend this organization to anyone who is searching for an opportunity to make an impact in communities in Ghana, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama as well as anyone who is looking to learn skills and ideas to bring back to their own lives.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I first started volunteering with Global Brigades in spring 2012. Originally I was attracted to the idea of boosting my application for medical school, however, during my first brigade, a medical brigade to Honduras with the University of Oklahoma, I began to notice how many cases of the same diseases we were encountering. During reflection one evening I brought this up, and was thoroughly educated about the Holistic Model for sustainable development Global Brigades uses.
Since then, I've been a firm believer in, and advocate for, the work Global Brigades is doing.
Global Brigades works to empower under-resourced communities, but the students who volunteer their time with Global Brigades, such as myself, return from their time in-country empowered as well. From having an eye opening experience and learning about new cultures, gaining skills and knowledge about a future professional field, or learning about international and sustainable development work by engaging with a community to help them positively improve their lives, Global Brigades helps make a positive change in the world.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was first introduced to Global Brigades as a freshman at Brandeis University. I entered college looking for an outlet to get involved in international development, public health, and learn about health disparities abroad. Global Brigades was an amazing outlet to do so. I have continued to be involved with Global Brigades since then, becoming more involved with the organization each year. I am now the Campus Chairperson for Brandeis University, representing three brigades on my campus.

Through my Campus Chairperson role, I have learned so much about the inner workings of the organization beyond being a volunteer. Global Brigades is dedicated to sustainable development and holistically improving a community for a sustainable transition out of a community. I have seen first hand the impact Global Brigades has on empowering rural communities through participating in both medical and public health brigades in Honduras. Global Brigades also fosters relationships and connections for a lifetime between the community members and the volunteers. We learn from each other, and impact the lives of each other far greater than expected. Global Brigades is a remarkable organization that is committed to improving the health and economic livelihood of individuals living in underserved communities. However, Global Brigades is also inspiring, influencing, and encouraging a generation of students dedicated to international development. I have had the opportunity to see Global Brigades grow not only on my own campus, but on campuses around the country. Global Brigades provides students with the opportunities, leadership abilities, and inspiration to make a difference in their college careers and for the rest of their lives.

6

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Global Brigades has developed an impressive model for community empowerment. This means establishing health and economic committees so that locals have the capacity to manage their own development. They have also geared themselves to ensure all projects are sustainable and have a long term plan for impact. A great and innovative organization for international development!

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was introduced to Global Brigades immediately after entry into university. The university chapter of Global Brigades seemed the perfect combination between gaining hands-on clinical experience (a valuable tool for premed students like myself) and travel (something I always enjoyed since I was young). What started out as a one-week trip to Honduras evolved into a long-term relationship with the organization. Surrounded by peers interested in working to solve the greater, global issues plaguing humanity, my perspective of the world and my place within it changed.

I've participated in six volunteer service trips through Global Brigades already, not just with the medical program, but in several of the development projects well. I've shadowed physicians, build rainwater harvesters, helped with foundation work for a new community health center, shadowed legal professionals, and built sanitary units with latrines and showers. I hope to continue my involvement in the organization in the future as a medical professional. Not only has Global Brigades served as a means to get experience in the clinical setting abroad, the staff and volunteers within the organization have served as a constant source of mentorship and guidance for my evolving career goals.